Colombian metal scene is not used to paid festivals, and there are a lot of people that seriously believe that this kind of thing will never work. Thankfully, there are other people willing to take the bet to try things in a different way. The Festival Del Diablo took a considerable high risk and metallers responded in a satisfactory way, not only by supporting the Colombian bands that played, but also by witnessing the birth of a new breed of metal concerts in Colombia. Festival Del Diablo took a considerable high risk and metallers responded in a satisfactory way, not only by supporting the Colombian bands that played, but also by witnessing the birth of a new breed of metal concerts in Colombia.
On a Saturday evening, after weeks of heavy promotion on social media finally the Festival Del Diablo arrived with a repertoire for almost every taste in the metal world, with Narcopsychotic, Random Revenge, and Reencarnacion who left the audience in a high, meanwhile the international lineup was very diverse with Dia De Los Muertos, Inquisition, Carcass and Brujeria showing that it is humanly possible to have different genres on one stage without so much of a fuzz.
It all began in a civilized manner, people getting in, buying their tickets, either from another fellow metalhead that wasn’t able to attend, or directly at the box office. There was a lot of expectation from all the audience even if some came for one or two of the bands playing. Doors opened and people got in, a few minutes afterward Narcopsychotic took the stage a metal band that mixed a great deal of fast beat genres like punk and hardcore metal. As a lover of fast beats, Narcopsycothic for me set a energetic tone at the beginning of the festival. Their sound has a mixed between The Misfits and Infectious Grooves which for my personal taste it’s just marvelous, thanks in part to their bassist, she’s just able to take groove and give it a metal resonance. Although they were the opening band, Narcopsychotic gave it all on the stage and the early audience was rather pleased on what they saw.
The next band to play was Random Revenge, a quintet more into thrash and heavy metal, which also contributed to keep the audience interested. Even if it was early in the evening, Random Revenge showed their Judas Priest influences, which led to more old school metalheads relaxing and having a good time. In my opinion, they were a good representation of what the old school is doing in Colombia, with songs that despite of being original, sound a bit too familiar, and for some, that gives a sense of comfort that a lot of people need. Good band, just not of my liking.
After some heavy metal we had some black-ish thrash metal in the name of Reencarnacion. For those into black metal, the band was a good mouthful for the senses, despite their thrash influences with a dark, and dense sound. I must admit, Reencarnacion was not of my liking, but it has more to do with the mixed of genres than the band itself. They perform in a very professional way and they received a good response by the audience. However, I have the feeling that most people were reserving their energies for what was about to come. A festival is an endurance sport.
And then, in the middle of the festival, Dia de Los Muertos arrived. This was one of the bands I had paid to see, with a powerful growler embodied in Rosa Arias, a tiny woman with the fierce requirement for the genre. At the beginning they wanted to engage better with the audience to make them go for the mosh pit, and after three songs when finally people were warmed enough to start to mosh, the set for Dia de Los Muertos was interrupted when a group “metalheads” decided to enter to the theater by force. The incident didn’t progress for the worst, because despite the confusion, the audience inside the gig behaved calmly and civilized, at least from where I was standing. But until things calmed down, the concert had to be paused for a bit. After a good 40 minutes pause, when the environment was calmed again, the gig started once more, but unfortunately for Dia de Los Muertos everything ended after three songs. One thing worth mentioning is that while the disturbance was happening, the guys of Dia de Los Muertos kept playing regardless and they would have kept playing if the pepper spray that one of the vandals made to help their vicious endeavour to get in by force, causing the rest of us that paid for our ticket to have a choke because of it, a real disgrace to the metal culture.
After the incident ended, it was Inquisition turn. I must say, I’m not a big fan of black metal, it just doesn’t vibrate at my frequency all together, but despite the fact of my dislike of the genre, I must admit Inquisition has a very loyal and big fan base in Colombia. I saw them, the fans let themselves go at the beat of this power duo and singing their lungs out with every song. The execution, I believe was flawless, and those who went to see them were completely satisfied which is the important part. For me, they didn’t change the way I think about black metal at all.
And then Carcass came on. For those die hard, old school death metal fans, it was a 75 minutes long transforming experience. This time there was a language barrier that didn’t allow bassist frontman Jeff Walker to communicate better with the audience, and Spanish audiences have a hard time breaking the “I don’t understand English” barrier. Nonetheless, Carcass delivered the brutality that has characterized them from the get go. By this time, old school death metal fans were enjoying each blast with a powerful head bang. The energy present in the scenario and among the audience was impressive, the guys from Carcass gave it all, and greeted Dia De Los Muertos and the previous bands for the endurance and more importantly to the audience and the promoters of the festival for continuing the event even after the incident. I guess for many of the people that paid for their ticket, it was a matter of, if you paid for something, you’d stick to it until you get satisfied, and a lot of the people that went to Festival Del Diablo went to see Carcass and the band that eventually closed the festival, Brujeria, so they stuck to their ground until saw those bands play.
Brujeria started playing around 1 a.m. a lot of us, if not all were completely tired, but these guys entered with such energy that tiredness went to second place. This time Juan Brujo and El Sangron, who was invited by Juan Brujo to perform in the South American tour dates, entered the stage in such energy that all the extreme metal fans that were there went to the front ready to mosh with all they got. El Cynico (AKA Jeffrey Walker) did the background vocals almost perfectly, despite the fact that he doesn’t speak Spanish. Some of the songs performed by Brujeria were “Colas de Rata”, “Hechando Chingasos”. People went ballistic with Brujeria and I must admit, I have a soft spot for extreme metal, and Brujeria was exactly what I needed to hear after a long day.
Festival Del Diablo was a remarkable first attempt to create a multi-genre metal festival, which I believe is something really needed in a scene where “fundamentalists” infest pretty much every single corner with their closed minded view of the world. I applaud the integrity of the promoters, because I saw them following every activity in the festival very closely and after introducing themselves to the public, they were before it was clear that they took matters very seriously and gave a well-organized event to the vast majority of metalheads that want this kind of events where inclusion is the key. I can only say that it was a great experience, I had the chance to check the theory about the metalheads as a whole in Colombia being able to coexist in peace even if they don’t enjoy other metal genres that much. I for one, am looking forward to next year’s festival.